Silver Nuggets: Struggling Senators have a tough schedule this week

Jason Spezza is going to be key if the Senators are to have success this week. (Photo by Jana Chytilova/Freestyle Photography/Getty Images)

The Ottawa Senators have lost three games in a row and it's not going to get any easier. Losers of three in a row and five out of the last six, the Senators will head on the road to take on the Buffalo Sabres tomorrow night. The following night, they will return home to play the Boston Bruins on the second of a back-to-back set. The final game of the week is on Friday at home to the Pittsburgh Penguins.

The combined record of Ottawa's next three opponents is 50-30-7 or a 101 pace over 82 games. In other words, the average opponent for Ottawa this week is a 101 point team. Ottawa will be expected to lose on the road to Buffalo, and they will be expected to lose at home to Boston and Pittsburgh as well.

Can the Senators surprise and have a successful week? Considering the schedule, a three point week would have to be considered a success. The optimistic prediction would be that Ottawa manages to win one of the home games against the two powerhouses and pulls out a point or two in Buffalo. Losing all three games could leave the Senators being four or five points behind a playoff spot.

General Sens News

  • As you may have heard, Nikita Filatov is heading back to Russia. I think Paul MacLean handled this very poorly, but I am sure others will disagree. (Senators Extra)
  • Bryan Murray feels that Filatov cares a lot and can still be an NHL player but needs to get "stronger". (Steve Llloyd #1, Steve Lloyd #2)
  • Murray also adds that he intends to submit a qualifying offer to Filatov this summer, who will be an RFA. He would need to do that to retain his rights, otherwise Filatov would be a UFA. (Sylvain St-Laurent)
  • Here is the full audio of Bryan Murray speaking about the Filatov's move to Russia. (Senators Extra)
  • Paul MacLean thinks Filatov was given a fair shot and that his attitude was fine. He thought Filatov's play without the puck was pretty good but his play with the puck wasn't. (Steve Lloyd)
  • Binghamton coach Kurt Kleinendorst thinks that Filatov is a good kid and if he wants to play in Russia rather than the AHL, he's behind it. (Joy Lindsay)
  • With the injuries to Sergei Gonchar and Filip Kuba, Jared Cowen has been playing big minutes and not looking overwhelmed. Ken Warren argues that Cowen has been as important as Erik Karlsson this season. I think that's stretching it (a lot) but Cowen has been decent while the others have been awful during the losing streak. (Ottawa Citizen)
  • New lines in practise with Kaspars Daugavins and Colin Greening swapping spots on the first and fourth lines. 1) Greening-Spezza-Michalek, 2) Foligno-Regin-Alfredsson, 3) Condra-Smith-Neil, 4) Daugavins-Winchester-Butler. (Sylvain St-Laurent)
  • The bottom two defensive pairings have also been changed. 1) Cowen-Karlsson, 2) Phillips-Rundblad, 3) Lee-Carkner. (Sylvain St-Laurent)
  • The Senators have lost five of the six games since Filip Kuba went down. He's being missed on even strength and the penalty kill (even a little on the power play). Who would have guessed how important he would be? Can the replacements stop the losing streak before the veterans return? (Ottawa Sun)
  • Jason York also writes about how Filip Kuba and Sergei Gonchar were both booed at the home opener and now both are being sorely missed. (Ottawa Sun)
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